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Hamburger heaven: A burger tour of Buffalo

Summer is on the horizon, which means burger season has officially opened. While guys are usually the assigned grillmasters at home, what man doesn’t enjoy a burger even more when it’s expertly prepared? Here is an informal and incomplete (yet highly satisfying) burger tour of WNY that will please not only the man in your life — but everyone else in the family, too.

Pretzelweck

Your guy will covet this half-pound burger that comes on a pretzel roll with horseradish mayo, caramelized onions and pepper jack cheese. All burgers are made with house ground, USDA choice beef brisket and chuck. The Pretzelweck was incredibly juicy with just enough toppings to give it great taste without being too messy. The roll didn’t taste much different from a traditional one, but didn’t detract from the taste either. (We wouldn’t have minded a little more horseradish flavor, though!) Two other notable burgers were the Chip & Dip, which comes topped with homemade chips and onion dip, and the “Ton I Wanna,” which features a giant burger topped with pulled pork, bacon and cheddar for a nice smoky barbecue flavor.

The Delaware Pub & Grill: 3410 Delaware Ave., Buffalo

Maytag Stuffed Burger

It looks like a regular burger from the outside but holds a juicy secret inside — Maytag Blue Cheese. Topped with applewood smoked bacon, the burger comes on a grilled bun, nicely pink with oozing, tangy cheese. No condiments needed. For fifty cents extra, we recommend upgrading to the sea salt & vinegar chips on the side; even more decadent are the truffle tater tots, seasoned with truffle oil, Parmesan and fresh parsley. Other notables on the menu are a Steak & Eggs Burger and a Red Hot Chili Burger.

Soho Burger Bar: 64 West Chippewa St., Buffalo

Vietnamese Bánh Mì Pork Burger

Cole’s celebrated its 80th birthday in April, but shows no sign of being stuck in the past. Regular burgers, duck burgers, pot roast burgers, even a Jiffy peanut butter burger were available on our visit. (Diners can also upgrade to Wagyu beef if they choose). We loved the unique Vietnamese Bánh Mì Pork Burger — a homemade garlic and ginger patty served with pickled Asian veggies and Sriracha aioli on a toasted ciabatta roll. Thick and juicy, it was an excellent departure from a regular burger, with bursts of sweet and hot. A close runner-up was the Colorado Lamb Burger, topped with arugula, feta, red onion, tzatziki and Kalamata olive salad for a truly Mediterranean taste. The menu also features dessert beers (“Have one with, or as, dessert”).

Cole’s: 1104 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo

Monster Burger

Got a “basic eater”? Take him to Vizzi’s for a cheap and delicious half-pound Monster Burger and he’ll be in your debt forever. We loved this neighborhood tavern — old-school and friendly with cheap drinks and great burgers, the holy grail of the Man Superfecta. The Monster Burger tastes like it was cooked on a home grill. It’s super juicy and served on a toasted bun with all the fixings. The second runner up was the Greek Burger with tons of feta cheese and a fantastic Greek dressing. The pièce de résistance? Fresh cut fries on the side that we couldn’t stop eating. Stop on a Friday night to catch live Blues.

Vizzi’s: 967 Kenmore Ave., Kenmore, 871-1965

Other notable burgers from across the region

  • Magazine staffer Jon May swears by the burgers at the Davison Road Inn (Lockport). He’s eaten every one, except the Turkey Burger, but we can’t fault him for that when there’s a Taco Burger and a “Boom-Boom Burger” competing for attention.
  • Founding Fathers’ regular burger is served with great drinks and a side of Mike Driscoll, owner/bartender/quizmaster extraordinaire. (Buffalo)
  • Ruzzine’s Rock Bottom (East Amherst) has a Stuffed Pepper Burger, while Ebenezer Ale House (West Seneca) has an Ale House Burger with stout-caramelized onions, mushrooms, bacon and cheddar.
  • Essex Street Pub’s Mac Attack is a hickory-smoked burger with American cheese and jalapeño casinos on top. (Buffalo)
  • Angry Buffalo at the Rose Garden (Williamsville) features a Bleu Cheese & Bacon Jam burger with applewood smoked bacon, garlic aioli and homemade bacon jam.
  • Mooney’s PBJ Burger indeed has peanut butter and jelly on it. (Depew)
  • And finally, if you’re looking for a sophisticated burger, Tabree serves one on an onion broiche bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and frites. (Snyder)

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